Costas: Commentaries cost me at NBC
A year after Bob Costas was conspicuous by his absence from NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LII, the longtime face of the network’s sports telecasts said he was told “you’ve crossed the line” with commentary about the NFL.
“I remember being told that now I can no longer host the Super Bowl,” Costas, who parted amicably with the network last month after 40 years, told ESPN’s Outside
the Lines. “I think the words were, ‘You’ve crossed the line,’ and my thought was, ‘What line have I crossed?’ “
Over the last few years, Costas had moved from being the genial host of the network’s biggest sports event to someone who offered brief snippets of commentary, and he quickly was subjected to criticism for speaking up about long-term cognitive issues that can develop after playing football, gun control, the national anthem controversy and the Redskins’ name.
Costas continued to speak about football in the fall preceding Super Bowl LII, with the network saying that his “opinions are his own and do not represent those of the NBC Sports Group.” A CNN interview led to him hearing from his bosses because “apparently I was viewed — they thought I was viewed — as some sort of enemy of football.” Costas said NBC told him, “This puts us in a position that’s untenable for us, so you can’t do the Super Bowl.’ “
NBC told ESPN in a statement that it has historically given commentators latitude to express opinions “and Bob has benefited most from this policy. We’re very disappointed ... he has chosen to mischaracterize and share these private interactions.”